Marine Science Faculty Publications

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ocean optics; lidar; underwater glider; ocean remote sensing

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The optical backscattering from particles in the ocean is an important quantity that has been measured by remote sensing techniques and in situ instruments. In this paper, we compare estimates of this quantity from airborne lidar with those from an in situ instrument on an underwater glider. Both of these technologies allow much denser sampling of backscatter profiles than traditional ship surveys. We found a moderate correlation (R = 0.28, p < 10−5), with differences that are partially explained by spatial and temporal sampling mismatches, variability in particle composition, and lidar retrieval errors. The data suggest that there are two different regimes with different scattering properties. For backscattering coefficients below about 0.001 m−1, the lidar values were generally greater than the glider values. For larger values, the lidar was generally lower than the glider. Overall, the results are promising and suggest that airborne lidar and gliders provide comparable and complementary information on optical particulate backscattering.

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Remote Sensing, v. 9, issue 4, art. 379